Laurel Hell: a satisfying ending to Mitski’s performance career

After a two-year hiatus, singer-songwriter Mitski has made her long-awaited comeback with album “Laurel Hell”. Image is free use via

Popular indie singer Mitski has made her long-awaited comeback with new album “Laurel Hell”. Differing somewhat from the tone and style of her past works, this album contains bold lyrics dripping in vulnerability and longing that will captivate both old fans and new. 

Back in 2019 after the release of her album “Be The Cowboy”, Mitski announced that she would be taking an indefinite hiatus from her music career. Weeks before putting on her final show at the Central Park Summerstage, she posted a now deleted Tweet stating, “I’ve been on non-stop tour for over five years, I haven’t had a place to live during this time, & I feel that if I dont step away soon, my self worth/identity will start depending too much on staying in the game, in the constant churn.” 

Then suddenly on Oct. 5 2021, Working For The Knife” was released. This being Mitski’s first song in years, fans were very excited. Working For The Knife is a rather melancholy song that could be interpreted as Mitski’s mixed emotions about returning to music with the lyric “I used to think that I’d be done by 20, now at 29 the road ahead appears the same.”

Mitski did not intend on coming back into the spotlight. However, she owed one more record to her label, Dead Oceans. “Working For The Knife” became her first single in three years. 

Then finally on Feb. 4, after the release of two other singles “Laurel Hell” was released. 

Over the course of 32 minutes, Mitski sings stories of being the villain, yearning for love, and letting go. With a colorful combination of slow and synthy songs, some will make listeners want to get up and dance and others will feel like an emotional punch to the chest.

“Laurel Hell” also shows more of Mitski’s feelings about possibly saying goodbye to the music industry for real this time. The song I Guess feels like a farewell to her life on the stage with the lyric, “without you, I don’t yet know quite how to live.” It feels that Mitski is ready to say goodbye while still being grateful for everything that her career has brought her so far. With the ending lyrics of the song being, “from here I can say thank you.” 

A personal favorite track is That’s Our Lamp, a rather upbeat song about ending relationships and saying goodbye. This song is particularly significant as the final track on the album. It feels like a bittersweet goodbye to music once and for all.

Another fantastic track is Stay Soft. In this song, Mitski sings about hardening up to protect yourself and the dangers of being too open about yourself with the most prominent lyrics being “open up your heart like the gates of Hell” and “you stay soft, get beaten only natural to harden up” 

Overall Laurel Hell is one of Mitski’s best works and is sure to invoke deep emotion in anyone who listens. If this really is Mitskis goodbye to music like many assume, this was a wonderful way to go out.